‘Passing the buck’ leads to property tax confusion

Submitted by David Keister
Posted 5/24/22

Dear Editor:

In regard to the county property tax increase article dated May 17, 2022:

The phrase taxation without representation describes a populace that is required to pay taxes to a …

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‘Passing the buck’ leads to property tax confusion


Dear Editor:

In regard to the county property tax increase article dated May 17, 2022:

The phrase taxation without representation describes a populace that is required to pay taxes to a government authority without having any say in that government‘s policies. The term has its origin in a slogan of the American colonials against their British rulers: “Taxation without representation is tyranny.“ (National Constitution Center)

In reading the Powell Tribune article about our property tax increases one can see passing the buck by all the different levels of our local and state governments. Our state representatives have said that they will look at limiting property tax (again) at the state level in the 2023 session and suggest that we contact our county commissioners in the meantime. The county commissioners point to our county assessor, who only determines fair market value, who in turn points to the county treasurer to collect, who is directed by mandated laws set up by the state Legislature. 

Confused? Our only recourse when it comes to taxes is for those who we voted to represent us must step up and do the will of the people; represent us! All the excuses about mandates and formulas and this department and that department are just that, literally passing the buck. All of this can be fixed by our elected representatives. Even the extremely liberal state of California passed Proposition 13 in 1978 that limits property tax increases to 2% per year.

Do you think we might have a majority of the property owners in Park County who are upset with this insane increase in our property taxes? I was told by one of the assessors in the Park County Assessor’s office that the reason for this record tax increase was due to folks, mostly from out of state,  who were willing to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars above the market value for property in Park County.

The system allows the assessor, by law, to revalue all property.  It is by formula then that our taxes are to be increased. Not, in my opinion, by real representation. The county commissioners should be the last say before it leaves Park County. I believe they should hold an open meeting to discuss this situation with the property owners in the county. And I think they should look at every possible option to make this more fair. Our Legislatures should always have the last say when it comes to any increase in our taxes, especially in this unusual situation.

I also believe that our state representatives must pass a state law to limit property tax increases. We all need to contact our legislators to encourage them to get this right.  

If we do nothing people from California, Colorado, Washington, and others will take our property by paying such high prices that will result in ever-increasing property taxes. Wyoming will be taken from us by taxing us out!

This is an election year; we need to pay attention to who will help us.

I encourage everyone to contact our representatives to fix this; both at the state level and county level. Here is the list of who can and should help us:

Rep. Sandy Newsome, Rep. Dan Laursen, Rep. Jamie Flitner, Rep. John Winter, Rep. Rachel Rodriguez-Williams, Sen. Tim French, Sen. R.J. Kost, Commission Chairman Dossie Overfield, Commission Vice Chairman Scott Mangold, Commissioner Lee Livingston, Commissioner Lloyd Thiel and Commissioner Joe Tilden.

Every one of these representatives claim to be Republican. Limiting taxes and government overreach is paramount. Please remind them of this! Most of them told me that they would like to hear from all of us.

David Keister